Page last updated at 14:51 GMT, Friday, 5 June 2009 15:51 UK

Children's rapist jailed for life

Mark Lee Owens
A pre-sentence report said Owens was a high risk to children

A paedophile who raped at least three young children and forced them to have sex together has been jailed for life and called a "serious danger".

In one instance Mark Lee Owens, 43, raped a five-year-old girl after forcing her to watch him have simulated sex on an inflatable doll.

It took place in an attic he had access to when living in the Port Talbot area.

Judge Huw Davies QC said at Swansea Crown Court that Owens treated the abuse "as some form of entertainment".

Owens, previously known as David Thomas Owens, stood unmoved as he was jailed for life, with the judge giving a minimum term recommendation of eight years.

His address given in court was in Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester, but he was living in the Port Talbot area at the time of assaults.

His victims ranged in age from five upwards and the abuse ran over a period of years when he had access to them from 1999.

They included two girls and two boys, one of whom remains too traumatised even to talk about what happened to him.

You treated this as some form of entertainment
Judge Huw Davies QC

In addition to the "horrific" sexual acts he carried out himself, Owens also forced two boys to have sex together.

The boys were also encouraged to have sex with one of the girls he targeted for sex himself.

Last month he had admitted a series of specimen charges which covered rape, indecent assault and gross indecency.

Judge Davies revealed during his summing-up that Owens had been jailed for 15 months in March 2002 for an indecent assault on a six-year-old girl.

While in prison one of his victims spoke to an adult about her abuse and it was reported to the social services, but no action was ever taken.

On his release from prison Owens moved to Merthyr Tydfil where he exposed himself to mothers taking young children to school.

Mr Davies said that Owens' attitude to the abuse of the children was that "you treated this as some form of entertainment".

'Serious danger'

He said that the impact of the abuse against the children "was such as to cause them a deep and lasting trauma".

But he conceded that Owens' admission of the charges against him had at least saved them the ordeal of testifying in a trial.

Mr Davies added that the pre-sentence report made it clear that Owens represented a high risk of reoffending and was a high risk to children.

"You are, and you will remain, a serious danger to children for a period so long that it would be impossible for anyone today, in my position, to estimate," he said.

After the case, Tony Clements, chair of the Neath Port Talbot safeguarding children board said: "In all that we do, the safeguarding of children is of paramount importance.

"The circumstances surrounding this case were highly complex and action was taken by a number of agencies, including social services.

The roles of all of these agencies will now be subject to a serious case review, the findings of which will be made public."

He said it would be inappropriate to discuss or analyse the case in any more detail until the review was complete.

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